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10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

WHAT-I'VE-LEARNED-ABOUT-BLOGGING

10-THINGS-I'VE-LEARNED-ABOUT-BLOGGING
 

I’m linking up again with the Summer Blog Social to share with you some things that I have learned about blogging over the last 4 years. I am by no means an expert but having been around the block a time or two, I thought I would share some things that work and some others that don’t when it comes to blogging! So here are 10 things I’ve learned about blogging:

1. Design Matters. Your design should be eye-catching without being overly distracting. Colors are great but pick just a couple and go from there. In my experience, the cleaner and simpler the design the better. Definitely add your personality but if I can’t find your posts lost in a sea of buttons, awards, and widgets, then I probably won’t come back. And for the love, please don’t use a light font on a dark background! What I’m looking for when I visit your blog: is your content as well as where I can learn more about you (an about page is awesome) and how I can follow you (make your social media icons easy to find!). The great thing about blogging is that the quality of the design is not dependent on price. Just because you can’t shell out $500 on a custom design doesn’t mean you cannot have a great one! The web is full of tutorials on how to make a great and unique design (such as this one on installing a cute font on blogger) so while custom is a perk, it isn’t a must. If you want some critique on your blog design, Eli Rose Social and Blog Clarity are great resources!

2. Reply to Comments. As a reader, it means so much to me when a blogger takes the time to read my comment and respond! There are many plug-ins out there that make this a piece of cake by sending readers an email when you respond to their comment (I use Comment to Email).  Chances are, if a blogger takes the time to reply back to my comment, then I will be a repeat visitor.

3. Comment on Other Blogs. Want to increase your traffic and readership? Get out there and start reading! Find blogs that you love and leave comments – REAL comments. No comment vomit. If you leave a sincere comment, then that blogger can then reply back with a sincere response and voila – community has begun.

4. Grammar Matters. I’m not talking about hiring a Comma Nazi to proof every post but spelling and sentence structure are important. I need to be able to follow and understand your writing. This isn’t Facebook or texting – please use full words (skip the “ur” or “cuz” please) Although I can’t say I like reading the slang there either. This is a great post on how to improve your writing.

5. Trust Your Gut. Totally pull a Gibbs when it comes to your blog. If you finish up  a post and feel a little unsure about it, do not hit publish. Let it sit in drafts for a few days or have a blog buddy read over it. If in your gut your post seems disorganized or off, then it probably is. Don’t hit publish just for the sake of having something to publish. Another word of widsom: don’t hit publish when you are angry or otherwise overly emotional. Feel free to write but wait to hit publish.

 

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6. Don’t Sell Out. It is so tempting to accept any offer that shows up in your inbox when there is money (or other form of payment) involved for a sponsored post. Believe me. I am guilty. If you browse through my history several months ago you will find the type of posts I’m talking about. Was the money a perk? Of course. Did those posts get any comments or views? Very, VERY little.  Am I kicking myself for completely selling out and leaving my niche for some income? Absolutely.  Stay true to yourself and your blog and you will have no regrets.

7. Find Your Own Voice. While it’s good to read other blogs and have bloggers that you admire and who inspire you, be sure that you don’t lose yourself trying to be like someone else. I read your blog because of YOU.  I want to hear YOUR story. This is a great post from Content Brew about using your own voice.

8. Don’t Lose Your Blog in a Sea of Memes. There are tons of great linkups throughout the blogosphere these days – Top 10 Tuesdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Wordful Wednesdays, What I Wore Wednesdays (Wednesday seems to be a popular day), Thankful Thursdays, Fill in the Blank Fridays. It can be extremely tempting to participate in them all! While they are a great way to expose your blog to new readers as well as find some new blogs to follow yourself, if all you post are meme linkups, your content is going to suffer and your readers are going to get bored. Pick one or two that you enjoy and then focus on original content.

9. Know Your Audience. Do you know who is reading your blog? Moms? Singles? College students? If you don’t know ask! I was curious so I did a quick poll using Survey Monkey and was surprised to find that a good chunk of my readers are not moms. While I do include motherhood and parenting with chronic illness in the content of my blog, I try not to make it the overlying theme as I want to still be able to connect with my readers in a variety of areas. Another way to get to know your audience – which posts have the most comments? Is there a common theme? Asking some simple questions can bring a huge return in your blog readership and community.

10. Have Fun! Blogging should not be forced. If you feel overwhelmed or uninspired, take a break. Take the time you would be spending writing to seek out some inspiration! Like I mentioned before, its better to not post at all then to publish a half-thought-out junk post (preaching to the choir here).

 

What things have you picked up through your experience as a blogger? What 10 things have you learned about blogging? What works and what doesn’t?

Don’t forget to check out more awesome information at the Summer Blog Social!

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21 Comments

  • Reply Amanda Austin

    Agreed with the voice. I want people to read my blog and then if they meet me say, “You talk like you write!” And with the memes, I included that in mine but I’m totally with you on not going overboard on them. You see some blogs out there that it’s ALL they do. You have to be creative enough to come up with your OWN content without prompts…it helps you grow as a writer, blogger and as a person! I know personally coming up with new ideas on my own helps me flex my “creativity muscles”!

    August 2, 2011 at 9:16 am
    • Reply Jamee

      I agree 100%! I’ll admit I got to a place where I was stuck with where I wanted ANKON to go & I found myself in the cycle of meme’s every day. I just felt like I was spinning my wheels & getting no where. They are awesome tools to have (and not to mention a ton of fun) but they shouldn’t be the only source of content!

      I am loving all of the discussion generated by SummerBlogSocial! So much fun! Who needs San Diego? LOL 🙂

      August 2, 2011 at 10:50 am
  • Reply C.C. Almon - my journey as a Christ follower, wife, mamma, & fibromyalgia fighter

    This is great info Jamee! I hate that I have not been able to give my blog the attention I want to because of my job. I’m done in 30 days and I plan to get back to a more comfortable routine of blogging.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      I’m hoping that after this surgery, I’ll be able to set up more of a consistent routine too! Let the countdown begin!

      August 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm
  • Reply Carri

    Great list! I’m also not a fan of “u”, “ur”, “lil”, etc. THOSE ARE NOT WORDS! I’m also digging the “comment vomit”!
    Lastly, I totally agree with trusting your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t publish it! Sometimes it’s better to wake up in the morning with a fresh idea instead of posting something just to post it.

    August 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates those! I think MomComm’s “comment vomit” post is pure genius (she recently updated it to include Facebook too!). Thanks for stopping by!

      August 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm
  • Reply JDaniel4's Mom

    This post is awesome! I learned from each bullet point. I have been known to get caught up in memes. It is so easy to do.

    August 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      There are so many great ones out there so its hard to choose! Glad you found the post helpful! It makes me feel really good!

      August 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm
  • Reply liz

    If a blogger really is bad about using proper grammar and punctuation, I very rarely come back.

    And visiting and commenting is SO important1 Love that you mentioned that!

    August 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm
  • Reply Sarah K.

    Lol at comment vomit! I understand that. I think that comes from people who are trying to get a popular blog in as little time as possible.

    On the grammar part of your post – ahhhh!!! I was totally icked out by a “mommy blog” I came across recently. She spelled come “cum” every time. I had to wonder if she knew how gross that spelling was and that it wasn’t just short hand. I just left though instead of saying anything. I wonder if I should.

    August 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      I think I just threw up. O-M-G! I would have died! Who are earth would write that?!?!

      August 3, 2011 at 10:00 am
  • Reply Leigh Powell Hines (@Hinessightblog)

    Hi.

    I follow Amy’s blog, and saw a comment on her post tonight about being near you in NC. I am an NC blogger so I wanted to hop over to say hello. This post is really good. I am new to blogging so I try to soak up all that I can. I look forward to reading more.

    August 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      Thanks for stopping by! I love meeting other NC bloggers! Glad this post was able to help!

      August 3, 2011 at 9:50 am
  • Reply Jessica

    I am a grammar fanatic so rarely return to blogs who consistently use poor grammar, spelling and punctuation. I also like #8 and you are the first one to mention it. Memes are great but it is easy to lose yourself, your audience and your blog in them. Great lessons learned!

    August 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      When my blog hit a dry spell, I found myself caught in the meme-cycle and while it made for “easy” blogging, it did nothing for the heart of my blog or my readers. Its an easy trap to get caught in so if I can help others avoid it I will!

      August 3, 2011 at 10:01 am
  • Reply Galit Breen

    Such great advice!

    My favorite though, is follow your gut. So, so very important- in everything, really.

    August 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      I totally agree! Gibbs is a smart guy…LOL 🙂

      August 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm
  • Reply Julie

    I totally agree — have fun with it! 🙂

    August 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm
  • Reply Missy

    These are all good tips! I am especially a fan of the “no comment vomit” tip. I loved that article on Momcomm and I really do hate putting work into a post and then know that the commenter didn’t even bother to read it!

    August 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    • Reply Jamee

      I completely agree! I love that she’s got an updated version for Facebook! Nothing says “I don’t care” like a spammy comment.

      August 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm
  • Reply Jessica

    You are SO right on the sea of memes thing! It can get overwhelming real quick! Great tips here 🙂 thanks!
    #sitsblogging

    February 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm
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